What’s most striking about the newly declassified Yoo memo is how naked it is in its aims.
The administration wanted to give itself the permission to commit felonies and war crimes. And it listed them.
Wrote Yoo: “We do not believe that the Congress enacted general criminal provisions such as the prohibitions against assault, maiming, interstate stalking, and torture pursuant to any express authority that would allow it to infringe on the President’s constitutional control over the operation of the Armed Forces in wartime.” (pg. 13)
In other words: “the sovereign retains the discretion to treat unlawful combatants as it sees fit.” (pg. 16)
And yes, that discretion includes the executive privilege to commit war crimes: “We conclude the War Crimes Act does not apply to the interrogation of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees, because as illegal belligerents they do not qualify for the legal protetions under the Geneva or Hague Conventions that [the War Crimes Act] enforces.” (pg. 32)
This is premeditation of high crimes … forget misdemeanors.
(thanks, BD, for the much improved headline)